Here’s something to chew on along with another pricey salad at your desk this lunch hour. Fast Company draws attention to a study by researchers at international business school INSEAD that determined that networking isn’t as effective a method for getting ahead for women as it is for men. For women, it’s not who you know but rather what you know and how well you perform that plays the greatest role in ascending the corporate or creative ladders.
The study looked at the career trajectories of Wall Street analysts to see whether or not connections or “social capital” played similar or different roles in how men and women fared at work. Men, it seems, really do benefit professionally from being connected. Well-connected men were better and more accurate analysts and therefore had a much greater chance of being publicly recognized, celebrated and, by extension, remunerated well.
Women, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy a similar perk from knowing all the right people. Female analysts who were well-connected weren’t better at their job or more highly valued. Instead, those women that got ahead and were publicly recognized/rewarded were those that were worthy of it.
The idea that the workplace operates as a meritocracy for women and something like a boys club for men is hardly news worth celebrating (and to be fair, the men who benefitted from it weren’t duds, but did deliver the goods professionally). But the study makes some powerful and encouraging determinations.
The first: men and women are equally likely to be promoted. “There is no gender difference in the odds of becoming a star [at work],” write the researchers, which is definitely worth celebrating.
The study reveals, however, that there are differences in the paths men and women take on their individual ascents.
The good news for women: no more detours into networking hell! No more carb-heavy, gluten-dense dinners to choke down, no more boring cocktail parties you have to skip yoga for, no more corporate retreats rife with corporate jargon! Instead, you can rely on your smarts, talents and skills. Leave all that tedium to the guys.
God, what a relief.